News World Tough Corby judge at ease with parol

Tough Corby judge at ease with parol

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The Indonesian judge who convicted Schapelle Corby of drug smuggling and sentenced her to 20 years in jail feels “nothing special” about her imminent release.

Chaotic scenes broke out in Linton Sirait’s Bali courtroom on May 27, 2005, when he delivered the punishment for the Gold Coast beauty student, who to this day maintains she’s innocent.

At that time, of the 500 defendants who had stood trial on drugs charges before him, not one was acquitted.

On Friday, more than nine years after his decision, Corby was granted parole, and is spending what’s likely to be her last weekend behind bars.

Now working as a judge in Jambi, Sumatra, Mr Sirait on Saturday told AAP he didn’t feel much about Corby getting parole.

“Our country is based on the law, so when the law says she deserves to have parole, then she does,” he said.

“I gave the 20-year sentence because at that time, we thought that was what she deserved.”

Mr Sirait says despite the huge interest in the Corby case, he has had an easy relationship with the media.

It is not the same for Lily Lubis, the lawyer who first took the job of running Corby’s defence.

Ms Lubis told AAP the media had created “uproar” around the case that made it difficult to do her job.

There was also huge scrutiny on the then-31-year-old lawyer herself, branded a “rookie” by some media.

She blames the media attention for claiming the career of her Australian colleague on the case, Robin Tampoe, the Gold Coast lawyer who was struck off after comments he made about the Corbys on TV.

“The situation made the Corby case not conducive for the lawyers,” she said.

“We had to face rumours when we should have just focused on the case.”

Nine years on, she no longer has contact with the Corbys, but was pleased Schapelle would soon be out of jail.

“I definitely feel happy as well, since I think she deserves parole,” Ms Lubis said.

“She’s already been punished enough.”

But in Indonesia, a country where drug crimes are supposed to be treated as seriously as terrorism, there’s a range of views about that.

Ketut Sumarka, one of the customs officers who was on duty at Bali’s Ngurah Rai airport when 4.2kg of marijuana was found in Corby’s boogie board bag, doesn’t agree with her getting parole.

He believes politics is mostly behind the decision.

Now happily retired, he recalls getting threatening phone calls after the arrest, and claims one of his colleagues who gave evidence was hit by a car, crushing his motorbike.

“I was working for my country sincerely, and I don’t know why this happened to me,” he said.

Corby could be released from Kerobokan prison as early as Monday, if the paperwork is received in time.

The 36-year-old will serve her parole in the Kuta home of her sister Mercedes Corby and her husband, Wayan Widyartha, until at least 2017.